Can Reading Help Solve Conflicts

For  the past few months, I have seen a lot of negativity in certain aspects of my life. I have noticed drama where I have been a bystander to various conflicts. Noticing these events, I have realized, that even though I am only seventeen, my ability to resolve conflicts is substantially better than some of my peers. The reasoning behind this, I believe, is that reading has taught me empathy.

One thing I have realized through these arguments is that the people refuse to understand other points of view. They believe that there can only be one person who is completely right instead on understanding that no one is every fully without fault. People rarely consider the actions of other people and their reasons behind them.

Through reading I have began to see people with more dimension. I understand that people’s ethics, thoughts, emotions, and even previous experiences contribute to how people act. Even by reading about the antagonists of stories, I began to understand that their actions have deeper meanings.

For example, in Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Warner is perceived as the antagonist for the first two books. Mafi initially expresses him harshly which results in the audience to view him negatively. Throughout the story, readers begin to learn about his life which explains his motives. By the end of the series, most of Shatter Me‘s fans prefer Warner rather than the actual protagonist.

Reading gives insight into how humans live. Readers are  enlightened with the concept that there is more to humans than their actions and reactions. Understanding feelings and ethics that people possess grants readers compassion. Reading about various lives expresses that we aren’t all the same-especially by how we feel and act.

Another thing that reading has helped me understand is that arguments are not one-dimensional. There are many factors that contribute into conflicts rather than the primary story. Sometimes, previous encounters or missed communication contribute more to a conflict than the actual reason. However, when more people get involved in an argument, it’s easier to focus on whose side to go toward rather than to understand that there is more to a story. Because people want support, they will recount their story to benefit themselves which allows bystanders, people who should never be involved in the first place, to engage in propaganda. Because people want to win their argument, despite whether the argument involves them, they will fight for their belief by speaking out which only creates a bigger argument.  In the end, the only thing we neglect is that there is always more to the story than what we perceive.

Through reading, the audience follows the plot where they see everything that contributes to the conflict. They get a deeper understanding of how the conflict is formed and resolved. The audience understands that there is never a single action that causes arguments but various factors.

Overall, I believe that humans refuse to acknowledge that other people are equally as flawed as them. Also, they refuse to acknowledge that actions are performed by feelings and motives which are typically not sinister. When people refuse to acknowledge these factors, arguments between a few people turn into wars with many people who should have never been involved.

Advertisements

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

TitleThe Sun is Also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Date of Publication: November 1st 2016

Publisher:Delacorte Press

Description: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?


meeeIf you have been a long term follower of my blog, it is no surprise that I loved Everything, Everything. In fact, it was my first ARC and signed copy of a book. When I heard that Yoon was coming back to Bookcon with ARC copies of The Sun is Also a Star, I was ecstatic! However, my expectations were severely not met.

After reading the synopsis of the book, I had extremely high hopes for this novel. The storyline seemed promising as it was something I had never read about before. Maybe my reading taste has changed or maybe it was her writing style, but the book was nowhere near as good as Everything, Everything.

The main flaw (and probably the characteristic that caused the most damage) was instalove. Oh instalove, my least favorite trope. You may be wondering how this trope made me dislike the book when Everything, Everything‘s plot involved instalove, too. In all honesty, the type of romance was different in both books. Everything, Everything‘s relationship was built off of more than just a day and started out as a feeling of curiosity because the main character had never had been interested, let alone came in contact, with a teenage male before. The Sun is Also a Star’s relationship formed within eight hours and for most of the book, the main male character is practically obsessed with Natasha. Daniel, the male protagonist who is a strong believer in love at first sight and basically every other idea of optimism, practically plans his entire future with Natasha when he has just met her. In fact, he states “using the stern voice she’s sure to use on our future children” two hours into their relationship. Call me cynical but instant love irritates me to a grave extent. I could not read Daniel’s point of view without having to cringe. He was a whole new level of hopeless romantic.

Another flaw was the characters (mainly Daniel). Daniel was not a character I enjoyed. He expected his feelings to be reciprocated and was unhappy when events did not turn out the way he wanted. He often pitied himself and made his life much more complicated than what was necessary. Even in the story, Natasha points this out to him because he tries to make other people save him and he complains about his life every single chapter. I found his point of view annoying and overdramatic. Too often I found myself rolling my eyes at his internal monologue. His obsessiveness and awkward personality caused for his point of view to not entertain me.

Another character that I did not enjoy was Charlie. Was he important to the book? Barely. Charlie was a character that seemed unrealistic. His conversations were weird and his personality was overly malevolent  (he gave me a Buzz from Home Alone vibe). Honestly, he was not a character that I felt belonged in the story and should have been formed better in order to contribute to the storyline.

Finally, I did not think that the story engaged audiences. I felt that the pace was too slow and the storyline dragged. The climax was halfway to the end but I felt that the plot could have been resolved quicker.

Despite the flaws, there were a few positive attributes. The main one way that Yoon’s research into the story was evident. With a vast amount of information on different cultures along with scientific facts, readers got a deeper sense of the plot. I believe this helped the audience understand the cultures of the protagonists and their belief systems.

Another thing that I enjoyed was Natasha. I was engaged in her story and I felt that she was the most relatable character. I found her character development and how she was a realist to benefit the mold of the story. Also, she gave the book the reality check that it needed at times.

Finally, I loved the cover. Nicola’s books always look perfect! I can honestly say that the cover is one of my favorites.

Overall, the book was not worth recommending. I feel that it had the potential to be something incredible but failed.

Bookcon Wrap-Up, Haul, and Much More

This past weekend, my mom and I embarked on a journey to Chicago. After greatly enjoying Bookcon 2015, my mom had surprised me with tickets to this year’s event. Living on the East Coast, I was surprised that I was able to attend Bookcon 2016. However, since the price to stay in Chicago and attend the event was expensive, Book Expo America (BEA) was out of my price range. Thankfully, I will be attending BEA and Bookcon in 2017.

Because Bookcon was only one day, my mom told me that we would stay for a long weekend to sightsee. My mom and I arrived in Chicago around 7:00 in the morning on Friday and left Chicago at 10:15 on Monday night. If you were wondering why my Bookcon wrap-up took so long, it is because I barely had time to rest on the trip. I had an amazing time in Chicago! THANK YOU TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO SAID HELLO TO ME AT BOOKCON! YOU ARE ALL INCREDIBLE! With that being said, here is the wrap-up for my trip to Chicago!

DAY 1: ARRIVAL

plane

On Friday, my mom and I woke up at 3:00 in the morning for our plane. The plane was expected to take off at 6:00 in the morning. Despite being sleep deprived and irritable, I was excited for Chicago! Knowing that packing extra books for Bookcon is not worth it, I decided to only pack two that I really wanted to be signed: Beginnings: Obsidian and Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout and Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (my favorite series ever!).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once I arrived in the Windy City, I went to my hotel, the Hyatt Regency at McCormick Place. Because it was Friday morning at 8:00, the BEA attendees were everywhere! I envied the BEA attendees to a crazy extent. I had to get out of the Hyatt because I was upset about missing BEA. When I left the Hyatt, my mom and I decided to walk to Millenium Park. Because I am a stereotypical tourist, I posted a picture of me with “the bean” and used a cute pun for the post. Despite me getting the pun, my friend had a little trouble. ***By the way, I learned how to make slideshows for my blog! The pictures above are in my first slideshow!***

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After being a huge tourist, I decided to keep the trend going as I went to 360 Chicago! My mom and I decided to do Tilt! Tilt is a part of 360 Chicago where you stand on a platform that tilts 30 degrees off the 94th floor of a building. It was not as scary as it seemed and I had a lot of fun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finally, we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel. Initially, I had a group of friends who wanted to hang out on Friday but a few of them had delayed flights. In the end, my friends Leslee and Elizabeth met up with me for dinner. We decided to go to a dinner for BEA bloggers. Despite, not attending BEA, they said it was okay if I attended. I had a lot of fun and met many bloggers! My favorite part was finally meeting Nori and Mish.

DAY 2: BOOKCON!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

On Saturday, my friend, Stella, and I woke up at 4:30 to get ready for Bookcon. Being extremely tired, Stella and I stopped for coffee. I got a few confused looks when I order a chocolate frappuccino at 4:30 in the morning. We arrived at McCormick at 5 in the morning. We were around 40 people from the front of the line. Despite being excited, we were dreading waiting in line for the next five hours. However, we were entertained by the lovely book nerds around us!

Once we were allowed in the wristband lines, Stella and I grabbed all the wristbands we wanted. There were no lines for wristbands in the beginning so we got a wristband for Jennifer Niven and Lauren Oliver. After that, I went into the VIP line. I was the fifth in line for the VIP line. In fact, I am mentioned in an article on Publishers Weekly: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bea/article/70385-bookcon-2016-too-short-for-readers-just-right-for-publishers.html.

Once we were allowed on the show floor, Stella and I hustled to the First in Line event. We both received signed copies of Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven and The Sun is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon. Because we got Jennifer’s book signed, we decided to skip her signing later. After that, I rushed to Jennifer L. Armentrout’s signing and then Lauren Oliver’s. Finally, Stella and I reunited to go get some ARCs that we wanted. We attended a few signings, too.

Nearing the end of Bookcon, Stella and I realized that we had not sat, ate, or drank water for the entirety of the event. We were exhausted and in pain. We went to Tahereh’s signing and I started crying two people before I got to meet her. I admire Tahereh and her books. She is my favorite author and I was not prepared to face my bookish role model.

Afterward, Stella and I found some food that had been sitting at Penguin all day. Hungry, we asked a worker if it was okay to eat the now stale food because we refused to wait in line for food. With a disgusted look on her face, the girl said we could. Stella and I grabbed some of the food and continued on.

Finally, we could not stand any longer. We decided to sit for five minutes at Hachette while we waited for an ARC Drop. The girl who worked at Hachette probably thought we were crazy.

To my luck, Penguin was giving away one copy of Furthermore and I got it! I almost cried again. Then, I scared the girl because three seconds after she tweeted about it, I ran to her about A Touch Against the Night. While still at Penguin, I saw Nori again which made me very happy.

Finally, Bookcon was over and McCormick Place started demolishing the show floor at precisely 6:00. Stella and I barely made it home. I got a paper cut and her bag broke. We dragged forty books across McCormick Place. By the grace of God, we made it back in one piece. WE SURVIVED BOOKCON!!!

That night, my mom, Stella, and I went out to eat. We were too tired to walk somewhere so the hotel was where we ate. Halfway through my meal where I was sloppily eating pizza, Anna from Unquenchable Reads said hi! It was so nice to meet another person that I have been following on social media. We had a great time.

Thank you to everyone who said hi at Bookcon. I am a terrible observer so I was horrible at finding people. You all are so sweet!

DAY 3: DEAD AFTER BOOKCON!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The day after Bookcon was brutal. Everything hurt and I was exhausted. We decided to keep it a small day and just go to Willis Tower and eat some deep dish pizza. Later on, I got to see Stella one more time before her train left.

DAY 4: BYE, CHICAGO!

On the final day, I went on a Chicago Food Tour. Afterward, we visited the Chicago Cultural Center and Willis Tower. We spent five hours in the airport and left at 10:15.

BOOK HAUL FROM BOOKCON!!!

Signed books:

  1. ARC: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  2. ARC: Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
  3. Brought from home: Lux Beginnings by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  4. Brought from home: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
  5. Girl Last Seen by Heather Anastasiu
  6. ARC: Gilt Hollow by Lorie Langdom
  7. Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards
  8. Clockwork Dagger by Beth Cato
  9. Replica by Lauren Oliver

ARCs (not including signed books)

  1. Way Down Dark by James Smyth
  2. The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles
  3. FURTHERMORE BY TAHEREH MAFI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  4. Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
  5. Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten
  6. One Paris Summer by Denise Swank
  7. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  8. Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amy Kaufman
  9. This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
  10. The Next by  Stephanie Gangi
  11. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  12. The Reader Traci Chee
  13. The Hopefuls by Jennifer Close
  14. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  15. Bertrand Court by
  16. Firewalk by
  17. A Shadow Bright and Burning by
  18. Our Chemical Hearts by
  19. The King Slayer
  20.  A Tragic Kind of Wonderful
  21. The Loose Ends List

Regular Books

  1. H2O by Virginia Bergin
  2. Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally
  3. The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

NOW, A LITTLE RANT BY MARISSA

Okay, so I usually run away from blogger/twitter drama but this time, I can’t. The argument is mostly over but I want to add some final thoughts.

DO NOT SELL ARCs!!! Just a friendly reminder since I know a few of you did not know what an ARC is. An ARC is an Advanced Reader Copy which means they are uncorrected proofs and have not been published yet. Publishers give out ARCs to create hype for the books. Often, they are given to reviewers to promote and review the book prior to its publication. With that being said, it is absolutely, 100% illegal to sell ARCs. You cannot give people your ARCs in exchange for money. You could face severe penalties. Also, DO NOT BUY ARCS!!! You are just as bad if you buy books. Authors work really hard on their books and you’re damaging their success. I’m very disappointed in people who’ve been selling Gemina and Heartless on Ebay and if I find out any of them are you, I will call you out on it. I’m currently trying to find out how to report the people who are illegally selling ARCs. You are ruining it for everyone else and you’re a horrible person.

To end this on a happy note: Thank you to everyone who is nice and welcoming to the blogging community. I loved meeting you all! Comment below your BEA/Bookcon experience.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Date of Publication: July 28th 2015

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Pages: 465

What is wrong with me? Whenever I encounter an overly praised book, I never understand the hype. It isn’t that I don’t like the books but when I read from the category labeled ‘beloved books’ the stories seem to fall flat for me.

Despite my common misfortune, I was certain that Six of Crows would be the exception. Sadly, it did not reach my expectations.

Perhaps it was because I never finished the Grisha trilogy or that my book club decided to read it when I was in a big contemporary phase, but I did not enjoy reading Six of Crows.

After only reading the first book of the Grisha trilogy and loving it, I decided to try and read Six of Crows. Normally I would finish the series first but I had not bought the second book and my book club wanted to read Six of Crows. I had heard from various people that you do not need to read the Grisha trilogy to read Six of Crows.

While reading the first few chapters, I felt like I was starting a TV show in the middle of its series. There were too many characters being introduced and the plot felt like it didn’t have an introduction. With that being said, I did not finish the book. Maybe when I get over my contemporary phase then I will read Six of Crows. I am trying really hard to enjoy the book.